Chapter 1: Meeting Izre
When the spikes of ice erupt from the floor, I'm frozen not by the cold, but by fear. Someone strong enough to break through the building's anti-combat magic enchantment and angry enough to break the guild's rules is a terrifying combination. The first thought in my mind is 'I could get hurt!' The second thought is 'a lot of people could get hurt!' I need to help; I can use my enchantment magic to calm their anger, get them to stop fighting.
Things get a little more complicated when earth magic shakes the ground; TWO powerful angry adventurers?! That's... difficult. Things get more difficult when that earth magic ends up blocking the door. But then they get less difficult when I finally see the combatants; an elf surrounded by ice and frost, glaring at a demon that stands tall with her wings extended. Her intimidating form almost makes me overlook the cowering human on the ground behind her. Looks like there's a clear aggressor.
"H-hey, stop, what's going on here?" I shout as I quietly prepare my spell.
The elf looks over and scoffs at my less-than-intimidating appearance. "This fool just shredded my three thousand gold pack. I was just explaining how I expect some compensation!" The elf turns back toward the human with a glare, and the demon shifts to better shield him.
A 3,000 gold pack, and they weren't ready for it to get damaged? Are they really an adventurer? I get ready to throw my calming spell, but my concentration is broken when a door suddenly slams open.
I sigh with relief as the guildmaster handles the situation. The elf leaves, and the battle was over before anyone was harmed. But before I can turn to leave, the demon that was protecting the human gestures for me to follow her. I'm a bit intimidated (how can I not be? Her magic was strong enough to break the enchantment and her muscles are the size of artillery cannons), but the memory of her standing strong in defense of that human makes me trust her.
I follow the demon to a table outside a restaurant, where we sit down and introduce ourselves. Her name is Izre, and she's a scholar of sorts. "Time is rather short and I do not believe I will find who I need within the guild. I need someone I can rely on to join me in the ruins."
"In the ruins? But, why me?" The idea of someone as big and strong as Izre coming to someone as small and unassuming as me for help is a little silly.
"It was the way you handled yourself in the guild. While everyone else was running away in a panic, you kept calm and tried to deescalate the situation. You have the makings of a reliable ally."
"O-oh. Thank you... Um, what do you need help with in the ruins? This seems more important than just firefall scavenging."
"Indeed. The firefall tends to trigger old magics, and I seek to find them and learn about them. I can handle myself in a fight should I encounter less than friendly elements but truth be told my greatest asset in a fight is my appearance. I have been told I am rather intimidating."
"I can't argue with that; the way you stood against that elf without so much as a flinch was awe-inspiring. You're a real hero!"
"I ah... Thank you. Now then, I will pay you for your assistance. Although, the ruins I am interested in are off the path of this year's firefall, so I can't promise you much treasure."
"That's no problem; I'm more interested in those old magics you mentioned." Expanding my knowledge of magic is why I became an adventurer after all.
"A fellow inquiring mind," Izre nods approvingly. "I'll pay for the meal if you agree to hear me out."
Izre calls for a waiter, and soon enough we have our food. Izre gets a meat dish, while I get a vegiterian sandwich; Magefort didn't have much livestock, and I could never bring myself to hunt animals for food, so I don't have much of a taste for meat.
"The specific magics I am researching," Izre says, "are the corruption magics that caused the cataclysm. Pockets of it still exist on the planet, and more occasionally comes down in the firefalls."
"Oh. That sounds... dangerous."
"It is. The current methods for handling the corruption are limited to containment, but I want to learn how to dispell it. This mission will be dangerous, so I will not pressure you to come, but I would be honored if you would join me."
I think about Izre's goal. Simply leaving the magics in containment isn't a permanent solution; letting it build up might even lead to another cataclysm. This planet has already been through so much, it needs all the help it can get. I feel as though it's my duty as a healer to help. "Izre, I would be honored to help you heal this planet. I accept."